A “total rail war” against Russia was requested by the presidential aide
FILE PHOTO. A railway station in Belarus. ©Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto via Getty Images
A senior Ukrainian official has asked Belarusians sympathetic to the Ukrainian cause to do “what they do best” and carry out mass sabotage against the national railway system to stop Russian troops from attacking Ukraine. Presidential aide Alexey Arestovich made the call in a “motivational video” published on Facebook on Thursday.
The proposed campaign would be part of a larger “total rail war” that Arestovich wants Ukrainians to wage in the part of their country controlled by Russian troops and in Crimea, Russia. He claimed that acts of sabotage disrupting military shipments in northern Ukraine have helped slow down the offensive.
“By the way, there have been good examples of the rail war in Belarus. So, Belarusian brothers, if you stand against this war, do what you were always best at: wage a partisan war. Preferably in Belarus itself,” he said.
He was referring to partisan operations in Belarus during World War II, which helped cripple the supply lines of Nazi forces invading the USSR. Arestovich stressed that the proposed attacks should only affect the “transportation routes of the Russian troops” and “probably” not the railways connecting Belarus to Russia.
The official is one of the key people in the administration of President Volodymyr Zelensky, and has served as his spokesman amid the attack on his country.
Prior to his current job, Arestovich was part of a Ukrainian nationalist political force. After the 2014 armed coup in Kiev, he became a popular public speaker, who was often invited by Ukrainian media to comment on military affairs. In 2017, he infamously acknowledged that he had been “lying a lot” to boost morale and depict Russia in the worst possible way, stating that his “propaganda” was necessary for a nation fighting in a war.